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LaMalfa, Calvert Lead Effort Raising Concerns with Biden Administration Plan to Deploy USDA Employees to Border

Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) joined Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) in leading 35 of their House colleagues in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Thomas Vilsack and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra regarding reports that USDA is planning to send 500 employees to the southern border in response to the ongoing crisis.

LaMalfa said, “Instead of addressing the root causes of the border crisis it created, the Biden-Harris Administration is adding fuel to the fire at the expense of our farmers and foresters by inexplicably sending FSA and NRCS staff who are untrained in childcare to process the masses flooding our border. If the Administration shut off the green light to people flocking to this country, it would solve much of the problem. NRCS offices, often the first place for farmers to go for disaster assistance in the event of drought or crop failure or for technical assistance in improving soil health and other conservation practices, have been understaffed across the country, including in my district. USFS has similar challenges due to virus protocols. This USDA proposal must be immediately reversed, and the Administration must finally get serious about securing our southern border if they wish to convince Americans who their priorities are.”

Calvert said, “Actions speak louder than words, and by sending hundreds of untrained federal employees to respond to the border the Biden Administration is making it crystal clear we have a crisis on our hands. The impacts of the border crisis are being felt around the country. Now, federal employees from unrelated agencies are being taken away from their normal government functions to respond to the border crisis. Like many Americans and the colleagues who joined me on this letter, I have serious questions about the ability of these individuals to perform immigration duties as well as the impacts to the mission of the office they are leaving behind to head to the border.”

Recent reports, confirmed by USDA, indicate 500 employees will be sent to the border in conjunction with the Biden Administration’s effort to recruit federal volunteers to screen and supervise unaccompanied migrant children. As noted in the letter, “there remain serious questions about USDA’s commitment of 500 personnel to assist with the crisis at the border and the risks this poses to the USDA volunteers, unaccompanied migrant children, and the missions of both HHS and USDA.” The members are seeking answers to a series of questions about their concerns detailed in the letter.

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